I lied last post. There will be no photos this time around. It isn’t because I haven’t taken any, it’s because I am writing this from work.
Wow. A whole ten days since my last update. I had no idea that maintaining this would be so much work. Maybe it isn’t, perhaps it is just that my life here is so much more hectic than it is in Canada. I am determined to meet people and to make new friends. And so in the last ten days I have met with seven different people. I’ve walked around the Tel Aviv Marina for hours by night, I’ve eaten dinner in a romantic Jaffa restaurant overlooking the sunset, I’ve tasted “the best” Israeli pizza in Tel Aviv (it really was excellent), I’ve had drinks in a beautiful Jaffa bar with the volunteers at the Physicians For Human Rights-run clinic nearby, I’ve gotten drunk at the Tel Aviv University Student’s Day night party with some German and Israeli kids (actually, they really are adults), I’ve had hot chocolate, I’ve wandered around Neve Tzedek and paid too much for a bottle of apple juice and finally, I’ve met a Spanish intern and walked so much that I have blisters developing underneath my callouses on the sides of my toes.
And I’ve gone to work. Five days a week.
I have also been hunting for a new apartment. I want very much to live in Jaffa. If it hasn’t been made clear yet, I think Jaffa is the most beautiful part of Tel Aviv. I even like industrial Jaffa. I even like Ajami (which is supposed to be dangerous, slum-ish Jaffa). I feel safe wandering around at night. I have never, not once, been harassed in Jaffa. In Tel Aviv, on the other hand, the men are among the most forward I’ve met in my life. And besides that, Jaffa is stunning. Old Jaffa is the most beautiful and comfortable place I have been in a while.
Perhaps it is simply that, as a co-worker put it, I am a magnet for weirdos, but the men here have just been awful. I even found myself reluctantly having coffee at 10pm with a 40-year old who was trying to convince me to go down to Eilat with him for a weekend 2 minutes after we met. Okay, blame me, I should have been more firm with my “no’s”. It’s very difficult for me. I’m scared of hurting feelings or appearing hoity-toity, but when in Rome……
Anyway, back to the apartment-hunt. I did find an incredible apartment in Jaffa. The roommate was a very religious Jew, but I was fine with living with someone who keeps the Sabbath and keeps kosher and has to walk through my bedroom to get to the shower. That was all okay, because the apartment was so beautiful. What was not okay was that the potential roommate asked me if I am pro-Palestinian, to which I replied “yes, but I am not anti-Israeli, is that a problem?” He then proceeded to say that as he had friends working in “special security” he could not have “those people” in the house or visiting, and he could have “nothing to do with those people.” When I asked if he meant Arabs, he said “yes, those people.” I told him I wasn’t taking the apartment. There is a lot I am ready to deal with, but I will not partake in any form of discrimination.
I found another apartment in Jaffa for the month of July. I’m looking now for somewhere for the month of June. Finding something should not be this hard.
So on top of all the nice people I’ve been meeting (nice people – there are still no friends in my life) work has been pretty great too. I got to sit in two more meetings – one with the head of the peace-keeping force that is in the Sinai and one with some experts on Syria and what is happening on the ground there at the moment and what has happened in the last few months. When there are no meetings, I learn so much through all the reading I do. It’s a nice transition from school – not studying, but I still haven’t stopped having readings assigned to me!
By the way – I just want to shout out to all my McGillians. Congratulations on us graduating!! And enjoy the ceremony immensely, I wish I could be there with you! The world is ours for the taking!